US senator Kamala Harris has expressed her “deep regret” after dropping out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The California senator has ended her campaign after failing to gain support in key states despite an early rise in the polls, according to a campaign source.
Ms Harris said a lack of “financial resources” was responsible for her decision to drop out of the race.
The senator published an article on Medium explaining her decision to step down, writing: “I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life.
“My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.
“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.”
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She added: “And I want to be clear: Although I am no longer running for president, I will do everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump and fight for the future of our country and the best of who we are.”
Ms Harris also wrote in a Twitter post: “To my supporters, it is with deep regret – but also with deep gratitude – that I am suspending my campaign today.
“But I want to be clear with you: I will keep fighting every day for what this campaign has been about. Justice for the people. All the people.”
Ms Harris held a conference call with staff on Tuesday afternoon to inform them of her decision, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The 55-year-old had positioned herself as a unifying candidate who could energise the party’s base of young, diverse progressives while also appealing to more moderate voters.
Her departure from the race is the first of a top-tier candidate from the crowded nominating contest.
Ms Harris had climbed into to double digits in opinions polls after a strong debate performance in June but then struggled to maintain support.
Critics said was this fuelled by an inability to articulate policy positions and the backlash of an attempt to attack her rival Joe Biden.
She had also lacked the financial resources of the leading Democratic candidates.